E! émigré gets back in the Fox hunt

McHoul to continue unscripted expansion

HOLLYWOOD — It’s good to be Kary McHoul Gatens, who has ankled E! to rejoin Fox Broadcasting as senior VP of alternative programming.

McHoul, who helped develop “It’s Good to Be…” as well as “The Anna Nicole Show” during her 2½-year run at E! Networks, will serve as one of the chief deputies to reality renegade Mike Darnell, Fox’s exec veep of alternative programming and specials.

Hiring of McHoul comes as Fox continues to expand its unscripted offerings and shifts to year-round programming. To that end, Darnell also upped Sabrina Bonet IsHak to VP of alternative programming and specials.

Both McHoul and IsHak report to Darnell, as does senior vice president Tom Sheets.

Darnell said Fox’s alternative unit has been expanding slowly and quietly over the last couple of years, from five to about 10 people. “We’ve never had more things in production than we do now, so I need as many qualified people as I can get.”

For McHoul, the return to Fox reps the exec’s third tour of duty at the net. She first worked there more than a decade ago as an assistant; she returned in 1998 to serve as VP of alternative, helping develop “Temptation Island” and “Family Guy.”

“I never wanted to let her go in the first place,” Darnell said of McHoul. “She got a job offer from E! and the Style network, so we let her out to take it. But she’s just a perfect fit for completing the unit. She’s very aggressive, a go-getter, and she’s going to help extend our unit into doing more animation and comedy.”

McHoul, who quietly ankled E! more than a month ago, said she had been missing Darnell.

“You don’t miss him when you’re at Fox and you’re waiting for him to show up at a meeting,” she quipped. “But when you go out into the real world, you miss Mike Darnell.”

IsHak had been director of specials since 2001, having been at the network for nearly six years. She also worked on series such as “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance,” “Paradise Hotel” and “American Idol.”

Perhaps most important, “Sabrina was the catalyst for ‘Joe Millionaire’; it was basically her idea,” Darnell said. “She’s got great instincts and really knows what works on Fox.”

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